McDonald's Nuggets: Prospects gaining leverage, NC State, more
Dan McDonald is back with his weekend primer, McDonald's Nuggets. This week’s edition includes his thoughts on prospects not signing letters of intent during the Early Signing Period, a look at NC State's recruiting efforts, a prediction and his Commit of the Week.
WHAT’S ON MY MIND: Should prospects sign a letter of intent during the Early Signing Period?
There are five committed prospects ranked inside the Rivals150 that didn’t sign a letter of intent during the Early Signing Period. Isaiah Todd (Michigan), Moses Moody (Arkansas), Earl Timberlake (Miami), Terrance Williams (Georgetown) and Donovan Williams (Nebraska) chose not to sign this past week. College coaches reading this are going to hate me for saying this, but I’m totally in support of athletes committing to a school but not signing until the Late Signing Period.
There are a number of reasons I support this. In some scenarios prospects could be signing with a school where a coach is on the hot seat and could get fired. With other schools there is uncertainty because of the FBI investigation into college basketball. And lastly, there are coaches already rumored to be moving up to a better job in March, when the coaching carousel starts turning.
As is the case in all walks of life, it comes down to leverage. If a prospect has the leverage to not sign and have the school still honor the commitment, I’m a firm believer in taking advantage of it. College coaches are free to move to a better job at any time with the only restriction being a buyout that in most cases can be worked out. What’s wrong with an athlete holding off? I really hope this becomes a trend and athletes flex some of the leverage muscle, because the coaches that are trying to sign them will do the same thing when they have the opportunity.
RECRUITING NOTE: Strong finish for the Wolfpack
The end of the Early Signing Period was really good to Kevin Keatts and NC State. The big news for the Wolfpack centered around in-state five-star forward Josh Hall deciding to stay home and be the centerpiece for the ACC program. However, he wasn’t the only prospect to sign with NC State at the end of the signing period. His teammate at Moravian Prep, three-star guard Shakeel Moore, also inked with the Wolfpack over other high-major options.
With those two commitments, Keatts now has a full five-man class committed for 2020 and the No. 5 class overall on Rivals right now. Hall’s commitment could be one of the more impactful commitments nationally for next season. At 6-foot-8, he has the versatile skill-set, size and athleticism to be one of the best players in the ACC next year. He has real potential at the NBA level. The Wolfpack backcourt of Cam Hayes and Moore should be a productive one for NC State over the next few years, and I like the upside of three-star center Ebenezer Dowuona as he mans the paint going forward. Great work by the Wolfpack staff to close strong.
PREDICTION: Cameron Thomas will lead the SEC in scoring at LSU
This prediction is a bit of a gamble on him sticking around for two or three years, but four-star guard Cameron Thomas is an elite scorer. If he stays in Baton Rouge beyond his freshman year, I like his chances to score around 20 points per game and lead the conference in scoring. His signing is huge news for Will Wade, and Thomas should be a key piece in helping the Tigers stay toward the top of the SEC.
COMMIT OF THE WEEK: Isaiah Jackson to Kentucky
I already touched on two important commitments from the past week with Hall and Thomas. So, I’ll touch on another high-impact decision, and that’s Isaiah Jackson choosing Kentucky over Alabama and Syracuse. I’ve stated many times in this column and in our roundtables that I’m a big fan of his game. I love his skill level offensively to finish right around the basket, but he’s also competent away from the basket. Defensively, he’s a real presence in the paint on the boards and blocking or altering shots. He’s going to be a good one for his short stay in Lexington.